Florida Reports First Case Of Monkeypox, Third Case In The U.S.

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The Florida Department of Health in Broward County reported its first case of the monkeypox virus on Sunday.

Broward County officials said in a press release that the case arose from international travel, and the person who was infected is currently isolated.

“DOH-Broward is conducting epidemiological investigations to notify possible exposures and offer potential post-exposure prophylaxis,” Broward officials said. “At this time, DOH-Broward has not identified any additional cases.”

The case in Broward County marks the third confirmed monkeypox case in the U.S.

The U.S. documented its first confirmed monkeypox case on Wednesday, after a Massachusetts man contracted the virus while visiting Canada.

The second confirmed case was documented in New York City on Friday. The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed with ABC News that a patient tested positive for orthopoxvirus — a virus associated with monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that causes fever-like symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, body aches, and a bumpy rash on a person’s skin. The virus, belonging to the same viral family as smallpox, was first discovered in 1958 after an infectious outbreak occurred between two colonies of monkeys, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cases are rarely seen outside of Africa, but the virus has spread across numerous countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, and Canada, because of international travel. The virus can spread in multiple ways, including through infected animals, person-to-person contact, blood, and bodily fluids.

The majority of monkeypox infections come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the CDC.

Dr. Richard Martinello, an infectious disease expert from Yale, told HuffPost on Friday that there will be more cases of monkeypox in the U.S.

“I anticipate that over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to see more cases being identified, but I do not expect that we will see exponentially growing numbers of this,” Martinello previously told HuffPost.

Martinello said he believes monkeypox “does not seem to be as transmissible as something like COVID or the flu.”

The smallpox vaccine can protect people from contracting monkeypox, according to the CDC. Previously reported data from Africa suggests that the vaccine is “at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.”

While speaking to a group of reporters in South Korea on Sunday, President Joe Biden said the recent monkeypox cases in the U.S. and Europe are “something to be concerned about.”

“It is a concern in that if it were to spread, it would be consequential,” Biden said, according to the Associated Press. “They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about.”

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